Police and county sheriff’s officers quickly made an arrest after a man assaulted a liquor store employee as he was carrying the night’s deposits outside at closing time.
The incident occurred in the back of Wine World on Route 88 at 10:08 p.m. Friday, said Sgt. Neal Pedersen. When Officers John Scott and David Thergesen arrived on scene they located the victim in the rear parking lot with an injury to his head. The victim told the officers that the suspect struck him in the head with a large stick several times causing him to fall to the ground. The suspect then removed the night deposit from his pants pocket. A fellow employee overheard the struggle and gave chase as the suspect fled towards Coolidge Drive, where he lost sight of him.
Officers saturated the area in an attempt to locate the suspect and were assisted by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, which was nearby on an unrelated matter, said Pedersen.
Sheriff’s Officer Wiekichoski and his K-9 partner Jax assisted in tracking the suspect to a wooded area at Roosevelt Drive and Coolidge Drive, where he was located trying to conceal himself in the heavy brush, Pedersen said. Officer Dominick Puccio and Wiekichoski took the suspect into custody and recovered the weapon and the stolen cash.
The suspect is identified as Michael Martinez, 20, of Princeton Junction. He was transported to headquarters where he was charged with robbery, theft, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Martinez was charged on a Warrant and was remanded to The Ocean County Jail.